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The purpose of the workshop was to identify issues that might in the future significantly affect the Centre Region portion of Centre County, a rural county in central Pennsylvania, and discuss ways the region might better prepare for future transportation and land use changes. The Centre Region is the most populated portion of Centre County. Participants used scenarios as frameworks to discuss different futures and factors. The workshop convened representatives from local and regional agencies, the private sector, and other organizations involved in planning and development for the Centre Region (see Figure 1). (See Appendix B for a complete list of workshop participants).
Figure 1. Map of Centre County, Pennsylvania 1
Centre County includes 25 townships that occupy over 1,100 square miles. The area has a total population of approximately 146,000, which has grown 7.7 percent since 2000 and 8.8 percent since 1990.2 In comparison to nearby counties, only Union County has experienced more growth over the past twenty years. Most of the land in Centre County (nearly 75 percent) is forested. The Centre Region, the metropolitan planning region within Centre County, consists of approximately 20 percent developed land with the remaining 80 percent made up of agricultural tracts, forested parcels, and vacant land.3 The PSU University Park campus has an enrollment of about 44,000 students and is located primarily in State College borough within Centre County. State College and Bellefonte borough, the county seat, are the main job centers in the county (see Figure 2).
Figure 2. Downtown State College 4
2 From the U.S. Census at http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/42/42027.html.
3 From Centre County Planning and Community Development Office: www.co.centre.pa.us/planning/demographics/county%20fact%20sheet.pdf and www.co.centre.pa.us/planning/data.asp.
4 From Google Images.